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Question about going in to RF engineering

  1. Feb 24, 2014 #1
    Hi there, I am currently a second year electrical engineering student in Canada. I am thinking about get into the field of RF engineering for my next year of study. However, from i have heard online, I am having doubts about getting into this field.
    Here are the doubts i have.

    1: Does this field required a PHD to get a really good job in CANADA. I am planning to do Master , but not PHD.

    2: What is job outlook for new graduates in RF hardware Engineering field?(compare to like digital electronic, power engineering) I will be doing a co-op this summer as a RF hardware designer. and mostly likely doing PEY next year, That would give me about 2 year experience in the field. I am having good GPA during school. How difficult for me get a job after graduation? I heard that Company is only hiring RF people with at least 8 years of experiences.

    3: If i decide to go into this field, What knowledge is required to success in this field? in other word, what course should i take?

    4: What kind of company is hiring for this position in CANADA.( I only know that company making phones are hiring RF engineer).

    5: I am also interested in the area of power engineering, Is possible to switch from RF engineering to power engineering in the future.

    Thanks ahead
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 24, 2014 #2


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    Gold Member

    1: Some of my friends were hired as entry level rf engineers in the us

    2: If you get design experience as a co-op you most likely will not have a hard time finding a job. Your only issue might be your location constraint. I only know of 1 company that might do rf stuff in canada (note i know very little about companies in canada. i would recommend looking up bombardier.

    3:take at a minimum an active rf course (rf amplification/active filtering), passive rf course (passive filtering), and a transmission/reception course (antennas). I would try to have some knowledge in general analog electronics, mathematics relating to rf, and digital and analog communication protocols, and power.

    4: see problem 2

    5: power and rf are closely related. just take classes in both fields.
  4. Feb 24, 2014 #3


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    Science Advisor

    Hi Eddy,

    When you say RF engineer there is a big difference between RF board and system design and RFIC design. Both are decently strong in Canada. Besides phones a lot of other systems (from military and automotive radar to implantable medical systems) have need of various RF engineers. I used to do RFIC design (now I'm back to more mixed-signal design) so hopefully my experience can be helpful.

    1. No, a Ph.D. is not required. A few jobs might require them but a typical job posting is for MS/Ph.D.

    2. Who knows? It changes all the time. Your co-op as an RF hardware engineer is a BIG plus. If they like you (and you work very hard) you might get an offer from them. Many companies use the co-op program as a kind of long-term interview. Getting a job is always a challenge but a good GPA and a good co-op will help a lot. It is not true the companies are only hiring people with at least 8 years experience. Companies always hire a mix of employees to meet current and anticipated needs.

    3. Obviously you need to know your technical stuff. Take all the courses you can in EM and RF engineering. If you are looking at RFIC design take every IC design course you can even if you don't think it will be relevant. Integrated devices are getting so fast that "RF" design is looking more and more like "baseband" design from the designer's perspective.

    4. Lots of companies in Canada are hiring RF engineers. Most large electronics firms from the USA and Europe have offices in Canada, and Canada has a strong industry itself. Look beyond the phone to military and industrial applications.

    5. Switching fields that are that far apart is tough.

    Good luck!
  5. Feb 25, 2014 #4


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    There will always be many well paid jobs in power engineering which is a mature and well defined field. So study power engineering, but do what RF you can at the same time. You will be free to move around.

    As RF is becoming more modular “plug and play”, less regional low level component design will be needed. I have seen power engineers employed by large engineering organisations, migrate within that organisation to the RF communications field, where their skills in both fields are needed. They do not need RF qualifications to do that, but they must have power engineering certification.
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